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At Southern Weddings, we always say that the most meaningful source of wedding inspiration is your own love story and your personalities. Drawing from that rich well is a surefire way to ensure your guests will proclaim your day “so you”–something I think every couple wants to hear! As I read through Caroline and Shaun’s interview, I kept noticing subtle ways their own stories influenced their fall wedding, from the dress Caroline chose, to the song she walked down the aisle to, to the venue they invited their beloved guests to. I’m confident that surrounding themselves with things they truly love played a small role in their joy on this beautiful day, which is so evident in these photos by Whitney Wysong!

I had always known I wanted to wear a long-sleeved wedding dress. My grandmother and my mom both wore long sleeves for their weddings and I love the elegance a lace long sleeve adds to a wedding dress. It was the most important detail I wanted. I had a few appointments at some of the bridal boutiques around town, and went shopping with my parents and a few friends and relatives. The third dress I tried on was perfection. I loved the sleeves, I loved the keyhole back, I loved the material of the skirt, and the whole dress was covered in chantilly lace. I felt like it had a vintage look to it that matched my 1920s refurbished engagement ring. We cancelled all of my other appointments and went to brunch to celebrate finding “the dress” over a few mimosas!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We spoke to our pastor about our relationship a few times before the wedding. We talked about finances, family planning, and what to do when we get mad at each other. We both know now that when we get upset, we should take a little time away from each other to cool off so we don’t say anything hurtful. We were also instructed to talk other couples who have been married for different lengths of times and ask them what works for them and what doesn’t. That said, someone reminded us that it’s important to remember that every relationship is different, and what works for some people might not work for us. She told us to remember who we are and to always listen to each other before listening to other people’s opinions.

The most memorable moment for me was walking down the aisle with Shaun after the ceremony, and ringing the bell in the steeple of the chapel together as husband and wife. I thought it was the perfect way to kick off our marriage, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always been an animal lover. I grew up riding and showing horses, so I spent all of my free time as a young girl at a barn. My family has always had at least three dogs, and we were always the people who had a knack for finding young and injured animals and nurturing them back to health. We had tons of baby squirrels, birds, rabbits, mice, snakes, and even a baby alligator at one point, when I was growing up. When I heard about Pine Knoll Farm, we went to check it out immediately. It is a working farm with a reception venue on the property. When we got out of the car, I was greeted by horses neighing–they have cows, goats, chickens, and a Great Pyrenese. The reception barn is gorgeous, with hand-welded light fixtures and a beautiful wooden stage built in. There isn’t a single detail about the venue that I didn’t love. It was the only place we looked at and we booked it that day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Shaun and I met while working together at a restaurant in west midtown Atlanta. I got a job there while I was studying to take my boards before I could begin working as a registered nurse. On my third day of training, I was pleasantly surprised to find out my trainer was a tall, cute guy who made me laugh the entire night. We started dating and were soon attached at the hip. We both enjoy traveling, so we started traveling together, and I loved wandering through streets of random cities with him, striking up conversations with strangers, trying weird food, and just laughing our way through Panama and Europe together. We not only fell in love, but also became best friends and life partners.
Tell us all about the proposal! On Saturday, December 20, 2014, I woke up and went for a run. Shaun and I had planned on running together that morning, but he was still sleeping and had been up working late the night before, so I decided to let him sleep in. Halfway through my run, I got a text from Shaun telling me to meet him in the big field behind Oakland Cemetery, where he was going to be letting our two dogs run around. Oakland Cemetery is a historic cemetery right across from the lofts we lived in. There is a huge, beautiful, open field behind the cemetery and we have been taking our dogs there to run around for years. People always laugh when I tell them we got engaged in a cemetery, but it’s one of our favorite places to go in Atlanta–we call it our hidden gem. When I walked onto the field, Shaun was standing there with our two dogs. When he got down on one knee, I immediately burst into tears, and, of course, said yes! After staying at Oakland for about an hour, Shaun told me he had arranged a brunch, and that we needed to head to one of our favorite places. When we arrived at Atkins Park, about 20 of our closest friends were there and ready to celebrate. It was by far one of the happiest and most exciting days of my life.
When did y’all get married? November 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My wedding cake was a four-tiered ivory ruffle cake. The actual cake was lemon cheesecake with a lemon curd layer and italian buttercream icing. I had my florist put flowers on each layer of the cake. I loved it!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? To slow down and enjoy every second of it! It’s easy to stress over tiny details, but at the end of the day, none of those small details matter. Also, have someone make you a plate of food that night!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids asked Shaun some questions to answer without me knowing. The last question they asked him was “What are you most looking forward to in the future?” and I feel like his response was perfect: “In the future, I picture has having some awesome kids that we will raise and love and show them how to have fun. I picture us having our friends over with their kids and having cookouts and parties and going to Little League games. I am looking forward to expanding our blessed lives and keeping our network of friends and family close together.”

Photographer: Whitney Wysong Photography | Videographer: Tim Hunt | Day-of Coordination: Amanda Brewer of Boheme Concepts | Planner and Caterer: Events 2020 | Venue: Pine Knoll Farms | Florist: Sandra Burton | Cake Baker: A Piece of Cake Bakery | Bride’s Gown: Martina Liana | Bridal Salon: La Raine’s Bridal Boutique | Hair Stylist: Morgan Weathers of Tease Color + Hair Design Studio | Makeup Artist: Tabitha Ross | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” and “Willow” in Shadow Grey by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Simon’s Formal Wear

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Cynthia McIntyre reply

    The church and reception location are exceptional! What a lovely wedding! Thanks for posting a true Southern wedding!

  2. avatar Gosia reply

    Stunning wedding! Bridesmaid dresses look fab!

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There are countless ways to honor loved ones at your wedding, and choosing a meaningful venue is one of my favorites. It’s truly a beautiful thing to start your marriage in a place that holds sweet memories or history, and inviting your guests to experience that place too makes it all the more special! That’s exactly why Sarah and Adam chose Bald Head Island for their wedding–Sarah’s grandparents were active members of the BHI community since its development, and Sarah has countless memories of vacations and croquet games (a passion of her grandparents!) on the island. When she and Adam realized how many of their guests would have to travel to be a part of their big day, they decided to choose a place everyone would enjoy as a vacation spot. Bald Head Island was a natural fit, and I’m sure their touching ceremony and celebration added yet another layer of meaning to this special place for both them and their families!

Thanks so much to Rachel Red Photography for sharing this lovely day with us!

My mother flew from Virginia to Houston so that we could look for my dress. We blocked off two full days and booked appointments at salons all over town. Day one, we struck out, and our first appointment on day two went about the same way. I picked out and tried on several dresses, but never fell in love with one. I figured that this was going to be a repeat of the previous day, but then, the sales associate asked if she could pull a gown for me to try. When she brought it over, I was definitely skeptical, but once I saw myself in the dress, I fell in love! It was exactly what I wanted, but didn’t know how to ask for. I bought the dress immediately and couldn’t have been happier with it.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment from our wedding would definitely be when Adam and I saw each other for the first time. Without a doubt! I’m getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it. The look on Adam’s face was absolutely priceless. I could see and feel how much he loved me. It was the perfect way to start off our ceremony and reminded me how lucky I am to have him in my life. I’m so glad that we waited until that moment to see each other and I know that he feels the same way.

We decided not to write our own vows. As much as we love the intimacy of them, there is something about traditional vows that really spoke to us. We wanted to speak the same words that have been spoken for generations and have marked the start of so many amazing love stories. While we didn’t customize our vows, we did sit down with our officiant to discuss the ceremony. We wanted to make sure that it was an expression of our relationship. The instant we met our officiant, Kevin, it felt like we had known him for years. He did such a fantastic job infusing our personalities into the ceremony while still keeping everything classic.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Both of our families have roots in the South, but many have moved away over the years. We wanted to make sure that they were able to experience all of the best aspects of the South while they were down here. We welcomed our guests with tote bags stuffed with koozies, water, and island maps so they would be island-ready. We even included mini flashlights because it gets unbelievably dark on Bald Head Island. We wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous September weather and the fabulous setting by hosting our wedding outside. It was a bit risky considering we were on an island during hurricane season, but we’re from the South and a little weather doesn’t scare us. We did commit a pretty bad sin though–we got married on a football weekend. In our defense, we waited until Sunday afternoon, so we didn’t miss the game. Our rehearsal dinner had barbecue with all the fixin’s, homemade pimento cheese, and SEC football. Go Gamecocks! At the wedding itself, we served spicy shrimp and grits and provided rocking chairs for our guests to sit back and relax on.

There were so many different reasons why we chose to get married on Bald Head Island. Our families are scattered all across the country, and there are even members deployed overseas. We knew that people would have to travel to attend our wedding, no matter where we held it, so we wanted to host the wedding somewhere that everyone would truly enjoy. Beautiful beaches, Southern charm, and a laid back atmosphere…does it get any better? My grandparents built a home on Bald Head Island when it was first being developed, and my family and I have so many amazing memories on the island. Unfortunately, my grandparents are no longer with us, so this was one way for me to have them there and make them a part of my wedding day. We specifically chose the Bald Head Island Club for our wedding as another way to include my grandparents. They were club members for a very long time and were very active in the BHI community. They also happened to LOVE playing croquet and would travel around the country to do so. They brought that love with them to the island and played a huge role in having the croquet green added to the club. So, while we aren’t croquet players by any stretch of the imagination, we took a quick break from the wedding to play a couple of strokes. It was only a few minutes, but it really allowed us to slow down, appreciate the moment, and honor two amazing people.

Describe your wedding flowers. I absolutely loved our wedding flowers!! I wanted something soft, feminine, and romantic. The ladies at Kickstand Events did a fantastic job. They used garden roses, ranunculus, stock, hydrangea, spray roses, roses, and dusty miller in shades of peach, blush, coral, ivory, white, and gray. I really wanted the colors used in the florals to complement the beachy color palette, and they definitely did!

Our wedding cake was DELICIOUS! I am a huge cake fan. I don’t have a sweet tooth–I have an entire mouth full of sweet teeth. This was one of the wedding details that I was most excited about. I have always loved the look of big, traditional wedding cakes, but I usually hate the white cakes inside. Like my mother always says, “If it’s not chocolate, why bother?” I too subscribe to this philosophy on life. Fortunately for me, Adam doesn’t like sweets, so he let me have full control over the cake, and I couldn’t have been happier! One Belle Bakery did a fantastic job bringing everything together. They had the cutest cake names, and I’m a sucker for things like that. The top layers were a variation of their “Hey Y’all-mond” (an almond cake with chocolate fudge), the third tier was the “Lord Have Mercy” (a chocolate-chocolate chip cake with chocolate fudge), and the bottom tier was my own creation, “Orange you Sweet” (a chocolate cake with mandarin orange custard). The cake looked just as good as it tasted, and the team at One Belle Bakery got the cake from the mainland onto the ferry, then onto the island and set up at the club with no issues. I was incredibly worried that something would happen to my cake, and it didn’t! Thank goodness!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Adam: Sarah and I met about nine years ago in Richmond, Virginia through mutual friends. It didn’t take long for me to realize that she was “the” girl. We continued to hang out throughout that summer, and every chance I could, I would invite her to wherever I was. Unfortunately, we were both headed off to different college towns after the summer. There really wasn’t any communication over the next four years, but then we both returned to Richmond to start our “adult” lives. I had started working at an IT company and she started working at a jeweler. One day, I got a call from one of my clients who needed someone there ASAP to take care of an IT problem. I got there and, lo and behold, I saw Sarah. I immediately lit up inside and didn’t know what to do, so I froze. After that second, I knew that I was not going to let her go again. I asked her out to dinner and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Adam: We had decided to move to Houston for a job that Sarah couldn’t pass up, but before we left, we wanted to have a going away party. I had spent weeks prior to this trying to find the perfect ring and figure out how to propose to the love of my life before we left all of our friends and family. I decided that there was no better way than with all our friends and family in one place at the party. That night, people had started to gather, and eventually, I got everyone outside for goodbyes and speeches. After everyone had finished saying their words, it was my turn. I started to thank everyone for coming and saying that we would miss them. As I was wrapping up, I told everyone I had a story to tell. Sarah had no idea what was about to happen. I began to tell the story of the song I heard in the car when I was thinking about our future together, and as I ended the story, I looked at Sarah and dropped to one knee. She stumbled backwards as tears started to fill her eyes. I finally got the chance to get the girl I had always known I wanted…and she said yes!
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 50
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It is so hard for me to pick out a favorite detail from the wedding because I loved absolutely everything. If I had to pick one, it would be the bracelet that I wore. It says “Love you always” and was custom made for me using my stepmother’s handwriting. She passed away when I was 14 years old. She was an absolutely incredible woman and I miss her every day. I couldn’t imagine my wedding without her, so my dad and I had this bracelet made. Every time that I looked down, I was reminded that she was there with me and always would be. I haven’t taken it off since my wedding, and certainly don’t plan to any time soon.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried not to skimp on anything, but to make the most of our wedding budget, we reused the bridesmaids’ bouquets as floral decorations on the cake table and sweetheart table. We also split costs and extras with another bride who was getting married on the island. Sharing is caring, right?
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re getting settled into life as a married couple. Now that our wedding planning is done, we can finally have a life and get settled into our new house! That has been on the back burner for months, so we’re really looking forward to making it feel like home.

Photographer: Rachel Red Photography / Planner, Florist, and Paper Products: Kickstand Events / Venue and Caterer: Bald Head Island Club / Wedding Cake: One Belle Bakery / DJ: Active Entertainment / Violinist: Maura Kropke / Bride’s Gown: “Style #504” by Martina Liana / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Brickhouse Bridal / Bridal Jewelry: Hearts on Fire / Bridal Jewelry Store: Thomas Markle Jewelers / Handwriting Bracelet: Anastasia Savenko / Hair Stylist: Larry Davis / Makeup Artist: Wisp Salon & Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Menswear: Jos A. Bank

One Belle Bakery is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Donna Morgan is a delightful SW sponsor!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Rachel Ashcraft reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Sarah and Adam’s wedding! It was the most gorgeous and sentimental day and I can’t imagine another couple more deserving of the spotlight. I appreciate you hard working ladies at Southern Weddings!!

  2. avatar Karen Miller reply

    With a bit of prejudice perhaps, as I am the mother of the groom, I want to say that this was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever attended. From the spectacular setting, and beautiful color scheme chosen by Sarah, to the incredible efficiency of the wedding planners and staff on the island, it was truly a dream wedding!!!! Thank you Rachel for capturing all of the splendor of this event in your beautiful photographs!

  3. avatar Lindsay reply

    I am obsessed with this wedding! Every details is gorgeous! And the proposal…. Precious!

  4. avatar The Great Escape | The Dandelion Patch reply

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  5. avatar 15 Awesome Ideas To Embellish Your Wedding Getaway Car! reply

    […] photo: Rachel Red Photography // planner & florist: Kickstand Events // via: Southern Weddings […]

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Fun fact: the Equestrian Elegance shoot in Southern Weddings V8 has actually been many years in the making! We love working with KT Merry (see past editorials she has shot for us here, here, and here), and have always known that she has a huge passion for all things equestrian. Last year, while driving through the Virginia countryside for a V7 shoot, Emily and I couldn’t stop talking about the beauty of the landscape and that we’d love to highlight it in an upcoming issue. Finally, when we connected with the talented team at Easton Events about creating something magical for V8, all the pieces fell into place for the creation of a truly incredible Virginia horse country shoot. We couldn’t be more thrilled with how it came together!

Biggest thanks to KT Merry, Easton Events, Beehive Events, the team at Pippin Hill, and so many more wonderful folks (see below for the full list!) who brought this gorgeous spring day to life!

As Emily mentioned yesterday, each of our editorials in this issue revolved around the story of a couple we dreamed up. Our Equestrian Elegance bride is an avid horseback rider, and after meeting her groom at the University of Virginia, they decided to tie the knot in Charlottesville at a celebration that highlighted the magic of this corner of the South. This stunning invitation suite by Amber Moon Design perfectly set the tone!

If many of your guests will be traveling to celebrate with you, greeting them with local treats (or simply your favorites) is a thoughtful idea. For this Virginia basket, local wine, apples, and peanuts were musts!

Y’all, how breathtaking is our bride? Beehive Events used plenty of spring blooms (including dogwoods, Virginia’s state flower) in her bouquet, and we love the way they looked against this subtly printed Romona Keveza gown. The pastel shades make a statement, but are still lovely and classic.

We were so excited to finally work at Pippin Hill Farm! The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains make a stunning ceremony backdrop–we used beautiful wicker chairs and two simple floral arrangements that set the space, but didn’t distract from the natural beauty of the venue.

Some of our favorite details from this editorial came out during cocktail hour–from treats for the horses (plus a sign illustrating proper feeding technique, of course!), to local cheeses and meats, to Virginia peanuts, to an ombré display of local wines. As a favor, guests were sent home with “horse feed”–a custom blend of granola served in classic Weck jars.

With the help of natural elements and tons of texture, our neutral color scheme had a big impact. Casa de Perrin kindly sent the most exquisite china, flatware, and glassware for us to use, which were the perfect complement to Beehive Events‘ furnishings and florals.

East West Production also made a gorgeous film to accompany this editorial–take a look below!

For more from this feature, be sure to pick up a copy of V8 online here or on news stands across the Southeast!

Photographer: KT Merry Photography | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Videographer: East West Production | Planner and Stylist: Easton Events | Florals, Linens, Rentals, and Props: Beehive Events | Venue and Caterer: Pippin Hill Farm | China, Flatware, and Glassware: Casa de Perrin | Hair Stylist: Yolonda Jones | Makeup Artist: Lora Kelley | Cake: Buttercream Bakeshop | Paper Goods: Amber Moon Design | Calligraphy: Anne Robin | Illustrations: Karina Puentes | Bride’s Gown: RK6408 by Romona Keveza | Vintage Ring: Trumpet & Horn | Groom’s Suit: J.Crew | Bow Tie: Gold Coast Goods | Children’s Clothes: Petite Bebe | Vintage Helmet: Bluebird Creek Vintage

lisa Written with love by Lisa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Marion Blount reply

    This is breathtaking. Easton Events always sets the bar high! Beautiful!

  2. avatar Rhiannon reply

    This is by far one of my fave shoots in V8. It’s beautiful! Kudos to everyone involved!

  3. avatar Erin | Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

    this is absolutely breathtaking—every perfectly planned and styled detail… and captured by the lovely KT Merry!

  4. avatar Katie B reply

    Reasons why this is one of my ALL TIME favorite shoots:

    1) As a horse crazy girl who never quite grew out of it, this really speaks to my heart!
    2) The landscape, wow, I can see why you guys were inspired after driving through this countryside!
    3) Understated Elegance. The beauty of the scenery really took center stage!
    All the hearts for this one :)

  5. avatar Jessica reply

    The couple, the food, the setting is absolutely gorgeous. I love how they included the children in the wedding.

  6. avatar Bethany H. reply

    I can’t get over how gorgeous the bride is! That dress was made for her!

  7. avatar Dana reply

    this is the most perfect virginia wedding shoot in the world!

  8. avatar Southern Peach Summer Wedding Palette | Hey Wedding Lady reply

    […] Photo by KT Merry Photography, Event Design by Easton Events, Wedding Cake by Buttercream Bakeshop via Southern Weddings […]

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